Agriculture is a significant part of the Matagorda County economy. Our rich farming history continues today with the production of rice, sorghum, cotton, corn, and turfgrass. In addition to cattle and other livestock, Matagorda County is home to approximately 2000 acres of aquaculture with an income of $24.5 million this past year. In 2022, our local agriculture industry grossed about $298 million. This comes from crop planted acres in the county nearing 128,000 and pasture (cattle) and forage nearing 350,000. Crops by acre will vary from year to year with cotton leading the pack. The top five crops in the county are cotton, corn, grain sorghum, rice, and soybeans.  

Beef Cattle Production

Cows in a pasture

Beef production is an important part of the Matagorda County economy. The sale of beef cattle brings in over $34 million in 2022 to the beef producers. Most of the beef operations in Matagorda County are cow/calf related and produce weaned feeder calves to the market with a total herd inventory of 63,000 head — 33,000 cows, 28,000 calves, and 2000 bulls..

Row Cropping

Cotton in field on farm.

Row crop production, including cotton, grain sorghum, corn, soybeans, rice and other specialty crops, continues to be a major economic driver in Matagorda County, accounting for about 128,000 acres of production. Although rice has been a mainstay of the Colorado, Matagorda, Jackson, and Wharton County economies since the early 1900s, a lack of profitability due mainly to water availability issues is placing financial stress on both the infrastructure and farming community. Acreage has severely declined in recent years creating negative impacts on the local economy in general. Currently, the county has about 3000 acres of rice.

Nursery/Turf Farming


Turf accounted for $ 132 million in 2022 with 65% production coming from Wharton/Matagorda for the entire state.

-Developed by Greg Baker Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Matagorda County Extension Agent – Agriculture/Natural Resources